A study of non-persisters within a cohort of vocational students at the University of Alaska Anchorage Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/41687k956

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  • The purpose of this research was to explore non-persistence by vocational students in the College of Career and Vocational Education at the University of Alaska Anchorage. A cohort of 156 students were identified and tracked from fall 1989 through spring 1992. In the first part of the study, using the University of Alaska Anchorage Institutional Research data base, demographic characteristics of the cohort, their patterns of enrollment and performance were identified. In the second part of the study, a sample of 12 non-persisters within the cohort were interviewed to learn about their motives for enrolling in postsecondary vocational education, factors contributing to their withdrawal and their perceptions regarding the quality of their educational experiences. Traditional-age (19 and under) students were the dominant age group, representing 46 percent of the cohort. Eighty percent of the students within the cohort were full-time students taking 12 or more credits. Over half (55 percent) of the students were "early-leavers" who discontinued their education at some point within the first year of the study. The graduation rate for the cohort was 3.8 percent and, at the conclusion of the study, 7.1 percent of the original cohort had maintained continuous enrollment, however, if students attending in stop-and-go patterns were included, 14.7 percent were still persisting. Implications for further study revealed by the interviews of "early-leavers" (i.e., students who did not persist beyond the first or second semesters of the study) included the following questions: 1. What retention strategies, policies and procedures can be implemented to encourage persistence of vocational students beyond the first or second semester? 2. How can the University of Alaska Anchorage assist students with their career development and decision-making? 3. How can the University of Alaska Anchorage encourage the persistence of commuter students?
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